New Grants for Research on Enhancing Life

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What are the spiritual yearnings that power the human desire for progress? How does the imagination shape the future? What values propel the technological enhancement of life?

The University of Chicago, along with Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany, has announced a new two-year program called The Enhancing Life Project, supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The project aims to explore this rich but widely unexamined dimension of human activity across its promising and more risky forms. The work will also expand on and test notions such as “spiritual aspirations,” “spiritual laws,” and “spiritual realities,” some of the themes that shaped the writings of Sir John Templeton.

Grants will be awarded for winning proposals that explore the aspiration of human beings to forge a better future, particularly through the power of technology and other scientific discoveries. The initiative will support 15 research projects of advanced career scholars with $100,000 each, and 20 research projects of early career scholars with $50,000 each. Their work and that of others will be brought together and shared in a series of scholarly seminars over the next three years. The project will particularly, though not exclusively, support investigations in the domains of religious thought, theology, and philosophy—including the philosophy of the sciences—as well as related social sciences, communications, and media studies.

Applications are due February 1, 2015, and the grants run from summer 2015 to summer 2017. Full information is available online.